Round Tower 1-9 v Realt Dearg 1-7
One game stands between Round Tower Junior Hurlers and league glory. Having topped the group with only one league loss during the season, Towers went into this AHL8 clash with a season of very good form behind them. But they were severely tested by a resolute Realt Dearg side, with winning margin being just two points. RuaraÍ Keogh proved to be the Towers talisman. He opened the scoring with a pointed free before striking two from play. Niall Corless, playing at half-back, then registered Towers fourth point. Centre-half forward Martin Doyle notched the fifth score to leave Towers 0-5 v 0-1 clear from the opening quarter. However Realt responded, striking three frees in a row. On 22 minutes came the biggest break-thru when Philip Carroll netted for the home side. A quality sideline cut dropped around the edge of the box. Doyle did excellent to field the high ball and palm the sliotar to Carroll to the left. Under pressure, the corner forward drove it beyond the keeper to the roof of the net. A mix up from a Towers short puck-out then led to another Realt point before Doyle struck an excellent point on the run from a tight angle from the left. Carroll almost netted a second but his low pull was block by a diving defender. Towers remained on top but could not add to their tally before the break, striking two wides. The half-time advantage was 1-6 v 0-5.
The second period was a low scoring affair, with all Towers scores coming from frees. Two minutes in Niall Corless raised the arms of the umpires with a long-range strike. The half was punctuated by resolute defending between both half back lines. Twelve minutes in Realt netted when a free evaded the Towers rearguard on the line. It left just two in it but Donnacha Rafferty responded with an accurate long-range free. Realt started going for goal early. One long-range free led to a scramble on in the Towers box but the rearguard stood firm. A 21 metre free should really have been pointed but the free-taker went for goal and the Towers defenders could block and clear. Up the other end, Carroll almost netted a second when Corless free dropped to the edge of the square but the corner forwards clean strike struck the side netting. The visitors reduced the deficit to one heading into the final 12 minutes. Eoghan Hutchinson was calm under pressure in full back line when faced with a one-on-one and Corless broke from the 40 but pressure led to his strike at goal being blocked by the keeper. Towers struck four wides in a row and nerves were frayed. But Keogh struck the final score on the final whistle, when striking a long-range free from the left sideline. Wild Geese await in the final.